Mark Matthews of Republic Ranches: The Ultimate Land Stewards
Republic Ranches is a name in the real estate industry that’s highly respected, because trust goes hand-in-hand with anything and everything they accomplish for their clients.
A Texas and Oklahoma licensed farm and ranch brokerage firm, Republic Ranches has five branch offices operating statewide that represent both buyers and sellers of farms, ranches and other rural properties.
One of the five owners and operators of the firm is Mark Matthews, based in Hondo, Texas; and he speaks today in regards to the ideas and success behind Republic Ranches, and the reasons why clients turn to them when looking to buy or sell land across the Lone Star State.
Mark, what would you say is the most important factor in Republic Ranches’ success?
Listening and trust. It is important to make very sure that when you sit down with a client, you ask questions so that you know exactly what the client is looking for from their property. With Republic Ranches the client not only works with the best person to make the deal, but they also work with a realtor who does not walk away once their signature is on the bottom line.
Texas is very popular for offering many different types of properties. Can you expand on how diverse the state is, as well as clients with their requests?
There are those who wish for the recreational land, which means they have factors involved from wildlife conservation to rejuvenation of habitats, and more, that they need assistance with in order to maintain their property so their hunting and fishing needs are met. Others are looking for that ranch; the grassland habitats that will support the cattle roaming and their business needs. You also have the person looking for vacation land, as well as those looking to purchase for investment purposes only. We have worked with all types of owners and prospective buyers, to make sure they get the land that best suits their needs.
As far as Texas land options, we’re talking about a state that supports all kinds of needs because of its amazing diversity. This is an area that plays home to eleven major ecosystems, so the analysis of a new buyer has to be done correctly so that they receive the perfect location for what they want.
What other benefits come from purchasing real estate in Texas as opposed to other states?
When it comes to private land in Texas the inventory is great. The ability to purchase is wide open. And it is a huge benefit that a truly good working relationship exists between landowners and government agencies. In addition, there are also private land owner groups, such as the Texas Wildlife Association, that have a huge impact on hunting and other habitat-related issues. With help from these organizations, favorable regulations are set in place, and help with permits is also available for the landowner.
Permits in regards to hunting are something many people are looking for.
Yes, hunting is a large driver for many buyers. For those who are unaware, permits allow for white-tail deer hunting in Texas from October to February, if the criteria are met. This means the season and the ability to utilize their property in that sense is far longer than in other states. When it comes to Oklahoma, land prices are less, although the hunting season positives are not there in this case. And when a buyer is thinking about recreational use, spending several million dollars on land and only being able to utilize it for ten days is not the path they want to consider.
How did you begin Republic Ranches?
Jeff (Boswell of the Houston office) and I, did a deal together and, as we are like-minded with similar backgrounds, the idea formed. Many brokers merge together but stay in certain areas; our idea was to combine partners across this vast state so that the buyer/seller would receive expert information when it came to each particular area they were looking into.
The plan obviously worked well.
Brokers need to be trusted. They are working, so to speak, ‘without a safety net’, which means brokers must trust other brokers, as well as being trusted by their clients. If someone has property needs that are better suited to the North Texas region, we do referrals to each other to make sure that customer service always comes first.
Republic Ranches does a great deal of social media. Does this do well for the company, bringing in those new clients?
We do have a great deal of social media in place. It is definitely (as it is with every business in 2014), a form of technology that allows the company to reach farther and wider. However, I concentrate on the clients. I have formed my network of individuals over the years who can answer questions in all areas of land management.
Referrals occur often, and they use Republic Ranches because, although the client may be successful in business, they quickly learn that purchasing land is not like buying a car. There are a whole lot of moving parts to make sure that land is a success, and they value our opinion. We can communicate risks, offer market analysis, and get everyone from water experts to oil and gas attorneys on board to make sure the client never goes without.
In addition, you have been a wildlife consultant since the 80’s?
I began that path as an undergrad. I was an avid hunter, and through learning and education, I grew the knowledge regarding land, habitats, and more. Back then to make a living in this area you would go to work for Parks and Wildlife, or another governmental agency. But continuing to learn, I gained the specialty information people need to know about today, which helps greatly in 2014.
This is a true passion for me. If customers need to know about deer blinds, or how to improve genetics; if they require information on the best feed or formula for their wildlife to thrive – by being a landowner and having this information, I am able to bring that extra level of confidence to the client and trust is built.
The environmental side of things –hland management and helping habitats come back to life –ais getting more and more important over the years. Your thoughts?
Whether a purchase of land will be used for hunting, or not, it still remains that proper maintenance is key to a vibrant land, as well as seeing a better return on investment. And that can come down to the most miniscule need, such as, how to restock a plant that’s been extinguished because of another form of vegetation that took over. Every aspect that benefits the land should always be considered by both the broker and the client.
Which is all about listening…?
Exactly. Sitting down, listening to what clients want, and then matching them with the property they truly need is what I, the rest of the team, and Republic Ranches is all about. We want everyone to be successful, and listening is the first step to getting that done right.
Learn more about Mark and Republic Ranches